For Immediate Release
April 21, 2022
CLARK ART INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC PROGRAM FELLOWSHIPS FOR 2022–2023 AND ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW FEMINIST FELLOWSHIP
(Williamstown, Massachusetts) – The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program (RAP) announces the appointment of its 2022–2023 class of fellows for the upcoming academic year.
The Clark is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Through RAP, the Clark hosts a residential fellowship program that welcomes top international scholars for periods ranging from two to nine months. To date, the community of Clark Fellows numbers more than 400 individuals hailing from thirty countries, forming a global network of scholars united through the shared experience of academic pursuits undertaken on the Clark’s Williamstown campus.
While in residency at the Clark, fellows pursue independent research projects that span a wide variety of topics and pursuits, including writing, conceptualizing exhibitions, and studying emerging trends and issues in art history. In the past two years, RAP has introduced two new fellowships to support innovative and necessary scholarship in art history, including a fellowship in Caribbean Art and its Diasporas and a fellowship in Critical Race Theory and Visual Practice. Fall and Summer Fellows present a free public lecture related to their work during their tenure at the Clark. The Clark’s library collection—recognized as one of the leading art history libraries in the United States—serves as a central resource for researchers. Scholars live in apartments in a house close to the Clark’s campus, providing a collegial environment that fosters collaboration, ongoing dialogue, and exchange of ideas.
In this year’s cycle, the Clark initiates a new fellowship sponsored by The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation (KADF). The foundation is a feminist nonprofit organization dedicated to being a resource and strategic partner for social and environmental justice by protecting and advocating for women and girls for the purpose of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts and sciences. The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation Fellowship at the Clark supports projects that radically advance feminist perspectives and equal representation in the canon of art history. The first fellowship begins in January 2023.
“We are thrilled to have the support of The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation to foster systemic change in art history, in particular, through focusing on projects and scholars that advance feminist agendas,” said Caroline Fowler, Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program. “The work that The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation is undertaking is critical for creating a more equitable art history.”
Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark, noted that “It is an honor to work with The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation to imagine new futures for art history and to break the glass ceiling that perpetuates inequalities in the arts despite years of activism. Through this fellowship, the foundation offers the possibility of real change in art history.”
Fellowships for the 2022–2023 academic year are awarded to:
Short-term Clark Fellow: Olivier Bonfait, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France (Fall 2022)
“From Rubens to Richter,” Bonfait’s project traces a history of the large-format painting as a visual organism, considering its important role in the formation of modern state nations, and the artistic challenges it constitutes to both painters and viewers.
Short-term Beinecke Fellow: Bridget R. Cooks, University of California, Irvine (Spring 2023)
In her project “Covers: Popular Art and Racial Black Thought” Cooks analyzes visual images used on the covers of jazz albums and Black-authored fiction whose sonic and literary contents address the need for racial equality. These objects express what poet/critical theorist Fred Moten calls a “freedom drive,” that emerges from the “political, economic, and sexual objection of the radical materiality and syntax that animates black performances.” The images at the core of this project express the tension between enslavement and a concomitant freedom drive that is the condition of Black being.
Clark/Oakley Humanities Fellow: Jonathan Flatley, Wayne State University, Detroit (Fall 2022/Spring 2023)
“Like Trees” is a book project about liking and being like trees. Spanning distinct media, genres, and national traditions, it constructs an arboreal counter-archive of images and texts addressing the similarities between humans and trees. It is a “counter-archive” because the open-ended, affirmative, non-instrumental affective attachment to trees we find in it offers a clear alternative to the dominant Christian, capitalist view in which trees are under human “dominion,” there for our “use.”
Clark Class of 1974 Fellow: Turry Flucker, Tougaloo College Art Collection, Jackson, Mississippi (Spring 2023)
In the spring of 1963, the New York Art Committee for Tougaloo College (conceived by art critic and art historian Dore Ashton) established Mississippi’s first collection of modern art at Tougaloo, a historically Black liberal arts college located north of Jackson. As civil rights protests swirled across the fiercely segregated state, the College became an unlikely hub of European and New York School modernism and a place that the collection’s founders envisioned as “an interracial oasis in which the fine arts are the focus and magnet.” While in residence at the Clark, Flucker’s research examines the interconnection between the Tougaloo College Art Collection, the New York School, the Civil Rights Movement of 1960–1969, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Caribbean Art and its Diasporas Fellow: Donette Francis, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida (Summer 2022)
Miami is a refugee city par excellence where 93% of the current foreign-born population are from the Caribbean and Latin America. Art produced by Miami-placed Caribbean artists addresses the intimate scale of the city’s unique hemispheric orientation and its uneven racialized immigrant incorporation. This project theorizes Caribbean aesthetic practices of “Black refugee time” that situate the US in relation to the region, and account for differences in gender, generation, and linguistic repertoires
Florence Gould Foundation Fellow: Margaret Graves, Indiana University, Bloomington (Fall 2022/Spring 2023)
“Invisible Hands: Islamic Ceramic and the Colonial Art Market,” is a book project that looks at the practice of creating fakes and forgeries and reconsiders the objects that result as skilled crafts. Usually portrayed as dying out in the nineteenth century, Middle Eastern craft skills were, in fact, redirected towards a new market generated by the colonial project: the faking, forging, and fictionalizing of antiquities, especially ceramics. By recognizing faking and forgery on the market for Middle Eastern ceramics as skilled forms of craft and as sites of Indigenous participation in global capitalism, this book reveals the challenges that colonial modernity presents to the discipline of art history, via the objects that moved through it and were remade in its image.
Beinecke Fellow: Kathryn Howley, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York City (Spring 2023)
The book project “The Bodily Aesthetics of Ancient Egyptian Art” argues that the proliferation of bodies in ancient Egyptian imagery was central to its function upon its audience. Egyptian art was corporeal not just in its many representations of the human body but in the way that it consciously appealed to the senses, engaging the body of the viewer in response. Scholars’ own bodily understandings have, however, led to the reproduction of the modern body politics of racist, sexist, and colonial thought in Egyptian art’s interpretation.
Futures Fellow: Tsedaye Makonnen, visual artist, Washington, D.C. (Fall 2022)
Research performance art confronts the effects of systemic forms of oppression on migration. Finding more narratives and visual accounts of displacements conveyed through performance, Makonnen asks: “How do performance artists contribute to awakening empathy towards marginalized people?” Since there is a current re-enactment of humans as cargo at the United States-Mexican border and in the Mediterranean region, Makonnen challenges audiences to examine how performance art can challenge how whiteness, colonialism, and hierarchies are contributing to this present conundrum.
Michael Ann Holly Fellow: Jeremy Melius, University of Oxford, England (Fall 2022)
Melius is developing a project on the Victorian critic John Ruskin and his fraught relationship with the discipline of art history, bringing into focus what remains living in Ruskin’s thought and what historical models it still offers. Investigating the nature of Ruskin’s descriptive attachments to key sites and artifacts, the project disinters the novel forms of history that he found there, as they emerged at the volatile interface between observer and observed.
Short-term Clark Fellow: Marta Ruiz del Árbol, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (Fall 2022)
“Gabriele Münter: A painter with a Photographic Gaze” is a research project linked to the first exhibition on the artist to be held in Spain (planned for summer 2023 at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid). The exhibition analyzes amateur photographs Münter took during a two-year journey through the United States around the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century as her first means of artistic expression and the origin and source of her practice.
Critical Race Theory and Visual Culture Fellow: Shawn Michelle Smith, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (Fall 2022/Spring 2023)
The book project “Environmental Double Consciousness” approaches environmental catastrophe through the lens of critical race studies. Inspired by Rob Nixon’s concept “environmental double-consciousness,” the project investigates the intersecting crises that have come so sharply into focus in recent years, namely climate change and anti-Black racism, through an interpretation of contemporary artworks that largely decenter a human point of view. In concert with the works it studies, the project seeks an answer to the query: “Can one decenter a human point of view but still keep the violent histories of empire and slavery in sight? The aim of the project is to bring the lens of critical race studies more fully into view in discussions of the environment, and to demonstrate how art can shift one’s orientation to, and understanding of, a planet in crisis.
The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation Fellow: Shundana Yusaf, University of Utah, Salt Lake City (Spring 2023)
Inaugural KADF fellow Shundana Yusaf’s project “The Resonant Tomb: A Feminist History of Sufi Shrines in Pakistan from Medieval to Postmodern Period” explores the role of women in the history of Sufi shrines and the role of Sufi shrines in the history of women through nine case studies in the two provinces of Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan. The project triangulates material culture, sensory studies, and women’s histories, yielding the terms on which successive generations of women have bent the logic of this building typology to serve as the space of their self-production and narration. Yusaf’s project makes audible, from within monuments to great men, the auditory and spatial agency of women, consuming and reproducing space through sensory engagement.
Support from the Center for Spain in America, the Florence Gould Foundation, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The Manton Foundation, Prospect Hill Foundation, The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation, and the Sperry Fund help to underwrite fellowships in RAP. For more information, visit clarkart.edu/rap.
ABOUT THE CLARK
Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as a convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 285,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, from September through June, and daily in July and August. Advance timed tickets are strongly recommended. Admission is $20. During the run of the Clark’s As They Saw It exhibition (March 5–May 30), all veterans, active-duty military members, and their families receive free admission. Admission is also free on a year-round basis for Clark members, all visitors age 21 and under, and students with a valid student ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including a local library pass program and the EBT Card to Culture. For more information on these programs and more, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.
Visitors age five and older are required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to entering the Clark’s facilities. Face masks are optional for all vaccinated individuals. For details on health and safety protocols, visit clarkart.edu/health.
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